I've always been fascinated with dreams. I go to bed thinking about my grocery list. I need dog food, English muffins, coffee filters, and...I'm asleep, and suddenly I'm battling garden gnomes with a spatula or swimming in shark-infested waters while rockin' a neon green bikini. What does it all mean? Do I want to buy a neon green bikini? Do I find Kermit the Frog vaguely sexual? Do I think my name should be plastered on the side of a white-collar criminal's yacht?
Perhaps a resounding yes to everything? Or more accurately, perhaps a resounding what the fuck? Perhaps I should seek the advice of a dream interpreter, psychic, hypnotist, or my grandmother? Perhaps I should acknowledge that the dreams mean nothing, and that I'm neurotically obsessing over a fractured image that has absolutely no relevance to my day-to-day. Perhaps I should tell you this story.
I was a newly minted twenty-one, and desperately in like with a guy who had no interest in me. Unrequited love is a bitter pill to swallow, but a growing pain I like to believe we all experience at some point or another. After this gentleman and I had officially parted ways, I still clung to the fantasy that we would one day own a little cottage together, complete with a vegetable garden and several hairless cats. We would be together, oh yes we would.
Months passed and my elaborate delusions filled with carrots and cat hair gradually began to disintegrate. I thought that it was time to give-up the ghost, the sad unreturned text messages, and my mascara lined pillowcases. Then the dream happened. It was a Tuesday night, and I fell into a deep slumber at a mature bedtime of 8:00pm.
Suddenly, I was in the confines of the very cottage I had imagined. The stone fireplace, fresh beets erupting from dirt grounds, and several bluebirds whistling a nondescript Motown song all welcomed me into a world I deeply yearned for. And there he stood. Blue jeans, Hanes t-shirt, rough hands, and a simple smile. He scooped me up in his arms, and said “You’re it, baby.”
I awoke with an enthusiastic jolt. This meant it was actually going to happen! I dreamed it! I dreamed about him, and beets, and–I was right! He must love me—my subconscious told me so! But I needed proof. I needed confirmation that my brain was not playing tricks, but was instead deeply intuitive. So I went to a psychic named Marjorie.
Marjorie operated her spiritual practices out of the basement of a Gramercy brownstone. She was younger, Latina, and had at least two babies surrounding her at all times. My first visit to Marjorie required payment in the form of baby formula and $40.00. Armed with Similac, I began to recount my dream in great detail. Marjorie nodded intently, yawned deeply, and then said, “This is what you do.” She told me to purchase a bouquet of red roses, and pink Himalayan sea salt. Then she told me that I must draw a warm bath, and throw the rose petals and sea salt into it. I was then meant to get into the bath fully clothed, close my eyes, and focus all my energy on the images from my dream. Marjorie promised that this “sacred ritual” would do the trick, and basically help me get my pseudo-boyfriend back.
I drew the bath, and sprinkled the water with petals and salt. I stood over the marble tub in my tank top and jeggings. I took a deep inhale. I began to sink into the warm water, but then quickly jumped up. What the fuckity-fuck-fuck-fuck am I doing? I thought, staring at my damp bottom-half. I am batshit, I am sad, I am a cartoon character, and bad romance that Lady Gaga croons about. I will not get in this tub.
Yes. I realized in that profoundly awkward and private moment that we cannot put too much stock in our dreams. The minced pictures and thoughts that waft in and out of our psyche as we sleep tangled in our cotton sheets, arms looped around childhood stuffed animals. Sometimes our dreams are slight premonitions, a something’s coming, and other times they’re nothing, a something that will never come. Sometimes they humble us, frighten us, entertain us, and make us think. Other times, we barely know we’ve dreamed. We forget all about it, drink our coffee, and move on with our busy lives.
And that’s what I’m choosing to focus on. My latte. My busy life. All the things that are happening while I’m awake. I suggest you do the same. I suggest you refrain from trying to unscramble the pictures in your subconscious. Don’t drive yourself crazy or cling to a belief that what happens in your dreams will absolutely manifest in your real life, because then you could very well end up in a Duane Reade buying Similac for a con-woman. That money will be much better spent on tampons, or a party-pack of peanut butter cups.